Thursday 28 August 2014
Ranges Local Board Office
Waitākere Ranges Local Board
OPEN MINUTE ITEM ATTACHMENTS
8.1 Parrs Park Aquatics
20 Septic Tank Pumpout Programme Update
28 August 2014
File No.: CP2014/18489
1. To update the local board on the septic tank pumpout programme, including activity on the previous financial year.
2. To outline the septic tank data verification programme and parallel septic tank and related water quality work across council.
3. A targeted rate is applied to properties within the boundaries of the former Waitakere City Council for the pumpout and cleaning of on-site wastewater treatment systems including:
· septic tanks
· long drops
· grease traps
· grey water systems
4. This targeted rate ensures a triennial pump out by council contractors. High-Tech systems are excluded and are maintained privately.
5. The pumpout programme is based around improvements to the environment and public health and safety due to a reduction in the amount of emergency overflows through pumpouts. The community and environmental benefit is fewer failing septic tank systems and reduced contamination of streams, lagoons and beaches in the area.
6. Over the 2013/14 financial year 4,203 properties within the legacy Waitakere City Council area paid a targeted rate of $181.50 per septic tank system. 3,513 properties within the Waitakere Ranges Local Board area were rated for the targeted septic tank programme in the 2013/14 financial year. 1,243 properties in the Waitakere Ranges Local Board area received pumpouts in the 2013/14 financial year.
7. In conjunction with the pumpout programme, Council is working to verify all property data to ensure targeted rates are fairly and accurately struck. Further detail on the benefits of this data verification programme are detailed in the comments section below.
8. Possible solutions to the water quality problems in the lagoons at Piha, Karekare and Bethells are being developed. A plan identifying short term actions to scope potential solutions further and to deal with ‘quick wins’ has been drafted and work is underway to confirm resources to contribute. Further detail on how the water quality problems are being addressed are detailed in the comments section below.
That the Waitākere Ranges Local Board:
a) Receives the report.
9. The septic tank pumpout programme is funded by a local board targeted rate which is managed regionally by the stormwater unit of infrastructure and environmental services. The targeted rate pumpout programme aims to reduce water contamination from septic tanks. Additional work is being undertaken across council, and in conjunction with the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, to address water quality issues in the west coast lagoons.
10. The attached septic tank brochure provides specific information to owners of septic tanks in west Auckland. It was developed by the Auckland Council to identify common problems and solutions to ensure the effective management of septic tank systems.
11. The table below shows the number of scheduled work orders (planned triennial pumpouts), the number of unscheduled work orders (emergency or re-scheduled pumpouts) and incomplete work orders (septic tanks not located, property inaccessible or upgraded to a High-Tech system) undertaken in the 2013/14 financial year in the legacy Waitakere City Council area.
Table 1 – Breakdown of 2013/14 septic tank pumpout programme works across all boards in legacy Waitakere City Council area.
12. The following table shows the breakdown of completed septic tank pumpout works by local board area in the 2013/14 financial year.
Table 2 - Total number of completed pump-outs across local boards in the 2013/14 financial year
13. The Waitakere Ranges Local Board has the largest number of septic tanks within the targeted rated area and therefore receives the largest number of works. 3,513 properties within the Waitakere Ranges Local Board area were rated for the targeted septic tank programme in the 2013/14 financial year. 1,243 properties in the Waitakere Ranges Local Board area received pumpouts in the 2013/14 financial year.
14. The targeted annual rate per septic tank is $181.50 and ensures a triennial pumpout.
15. The septic tank pumpout programme was delivered under budget in 2013/14. Underspends were due to the work programme and life of the contract being ongoing across a number of financial years. The underspend has been carried over and overall, it is expected that at the end of the three year contract there will be a shortfall to be funded from planned for regional stormwater budget.
17. Each on-site wastewater treatment system within the legacy Waitakere City Council area is subject to targeted rate unless it is a High-Tech system, compliant with approved building consent.
18. Some residents and homeowners have upgraded and or increased the number of on-site wastewater treatment systems on their properties since the septic tank pumpout programme commenced. Upgraded on-site wastewater treatment systems (High-Tech system) means the system is no longer subject to a targeted rate.
19. Equally, properties with multiple on-site wastewater treatment systems are also required to pay multiple targeted rates – equal to the number of on-site wastewater treatment systems on the site.
20. As part of the septic tank pumpout programme council is working to verify all property data to ensure targeted rates are fairly and accurately struck. This has meant some movement within the number of rates struck over the 2013/14 year. In the case of septic tank upgrades this equates to a rates rebate, and in the case of multiple tanks this equates to a concomitant increase in the rates struck.
21. Over the 2013/14 financial year Auckland Council has verified the number of new systems installed, removed rates where new High-Tech systems have been installed, and added rates to additional tanks discovered as detailed in Table 3 below.
Table 3 Summary of targeted septic tank pumpout programme rates removed and added in 2013/14
22. This data investigation and verification programme is planned to continue over the 2014/15 financial year. This will increase the efficiency of the septic tank pumpout programme by increasing accuracy of data, reducing aborted site visits; lessening the amount of emergency overflow jobs, by reducing health and safety issues; and capturing any missing septic tank data and sites. In addition, this will ensure ratepayers are charged accurately.
23. This programme will take approximately four more months to complete and will be done by an on-the-ground inspection combined with data obtained from the pumpouts completed.
24. A cross-council working group has been formed to find solutions to the water quality problems in the lagoons at Piha, Karekare and Bethells. These problems are largely being caused by failing on-site wastewater systems, birds, dogs and cattle (in the case of Bethells).
25. A plan identifying short term actions to scope potential solutions further and to deal with ‘quick wins’ has been drafted and work is underway to confirm resources that will be put towards it.
26. Draft proposals have been discussed with the Waitakere Ranges Local Board to support some of the proposed actions. Actions which are currently underway include:
· Assessing all Council-owned disposal systems in the lagoons catchments (including Piha Domain and the Mill Camp) to ensure they are operating at best practice.
· Planning and costing an education campaign for next summer aimed at improving the management of septic systems.
· Exploring options for reducing the impact of birds and dogs on the lagoon.
· Improving the performance of the septic tank pump out programme to more effectively resolve any problems detected with systems. There are visual inspection reports and any faults noted in the reports are followed up by Regulatory Plumbing and Drainage teams so there are overall improvements to the environment.
· Development of a short term action plan to make the most of existing resources while a longer term action plan is drafted.
· Investigating whether opening the lagoon mouth to the sea would be feasible and effective at reducing contamination at times.
27. The proposed short terms actions will lead to some improvements in water quality, but larger and longer term actions will be required to make significant improvements. Planning for these has begun, but due to financial implications and the need to fully cost options, these are at an earlier stage.
Local board views and implications
28. This report has been discussed with the Local Board and has been prepared specifically to update the board on this work programme and associated activities.
Maori impact statement
29. It is recognised that environmental management, water quality and land management has integral links with the mauri of the environments and concepts of kaitiakitanga.
30. This ongoing programme will continue in the 2014/15 financial year.
Maintaining your Septic Tank Brochure
Dukessa Blackburn-Huettner - Stormwater Operations & Planning Manager
Jayesh Solanki - Stormwater Operations West Team Manager
Craig McIllroy - Manager Stormwater
John Dragicevich - Manager Infrastructure and Environmental Services
Glenn Boyd - Relationship Manager Henderson-Massey, Waitakere Ranges, Whau